Page last updated at 21:43 GMT, Monday, 26 May 2008 22:43 UK

Alitalia stalls annual accounts

Alitalia plane
The future of Alitalia has long been uncertain

Italian airline Alitalia has postponed the release of its annual accounts until further notice.

The board was set to approve the accounts for 2007, but adjourned the meeting without doing so.

The Italian government recently lent the airline 300m euro ($473m; 238.8m), in a bid to save the debt-laden firm from collapsing.

But the help for the ailing carrier prompted European Commission fears that the move broke state aid rules.

These regulations prevent EU governments from subsidising struggling firms, except under exceptional circumstances, as this could give them an unfair advantage over competitors.

The board met on Monday and was expected to give its approval to the annual accounts.

It is not the first time Alitalia has been bailed out to prevent it from collapsing.

If the EU decides that the recent loan constitutes state aid the firm could go to court.

The airline has had a choppy ride over the past few years and has recently flirted with bankruptcy.

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